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Ekta Parishad and SEWA nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2014

AFSC nominates two groups for 2014 nobel peace prize

Two groups working with and on behalf of  marginalized  women workers and poor landowners in India have been nominated for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.

The organizations are Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and Ekta Parishad, both of which are “deeply rooted in Gandhian traditions, exercising the power of large numbers of people working in nonviolent solidarity to create pressure and effect social change on a large scale,” the AFSC wrote in its nomination letter.

Each organization addresses fundamental issues that are present worldwide, including the demands of new industries, large-scale agriculture, and the rights of small landowners to protect their claims. As the home of the world’s largest democracy by population and one-third of the world’s poor, India has become a key testing ground to address economic marginalization and generate political will to meet the needs of grassroots communities.

Founded in 1972, SEWA works to achieve two goals, full employment and self-reliance for women, giving voice to those in India’s huge informal and unregulated labor sector – which makes up nearly 90 percent of India’s economy.

Supporting the female working poor, SEWA has created a bank that lends to women; established skills training programs; and created cooperative mechanisms to help in marketing, childcare, and health benefits. Its cooperative bank now boasts 350,000 depositors, providing access to assets for women who have not been served by traditional financial institutions. Today, SEWA has more than 1.2 million members across nine Indian states representing various trade groups; small-scale vendors, home-based producers, and fabric-block printers among others.    

Ekta Parishad was established in 1991 as an umbrella organization linking hundreds of small campaigns all working against economic and social injustice. The organization works to see India’s poorest people gain control over their resources, especially of land, water, and forest, in an environment where land is being grabbed and forest rights are not being implemented.

Today, Ekta Parishad’s members support local struggles; negotiate with state and national officials, pressing for land reforms; and advocate for the rights of the adivasi forest people. As a federation of about 11,000 community based organizations, Ekta Parishad now has more than 200,000 members across 13 states. Its advocacy helped lead to a new land reform policy now being formalized; a people’s parliament which is reviewing progress on implementation of reforms; and the development of fast-track courts to enable quicker resolution of land disputes. 

“Significantly, both SEWA and Ekta Parishad are engaged in both aid and social justice work; in other words, they are working to meet people’s needs and at the same time, they are working to challenge the   systems that make them needy,” wrote the AFSC. “Both of those approaches are essential in addressing the problems that face India, and indeed, the rest of the world.”

In 1947, AFSC and the British Friends Service Council accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of “Quakers everywhere.” Peace Prize laureates have the privilege to nominate candidates for this honor.

Photo: AFSC

Jai Jagat 2020 - Move

Der "March on Geneva" ist eine globale Aktion für die Welt, die "WIR WOLLEN" – im Gegensatz zu der, die wir haben. Eine Vielzahl von kleineren und grösseren Märschen in vielen Ländern symbolisiert "die Bewegung" (WE MOVE) für eine gerechte und friedvolle Welt.

Ein Detailprogramm steht noch nicht fest. Es gibt jedoch Ideen dazu wie etwa:

1) Ein internationaler in Indien startender Marsch von 150 jungen Menschen erreicht Genf nach rund 8000 Kilometern.
2) Gleichzeitig finden in vielen Ländern der Welt Aktionen zu Jai Jagat und ein Sternmarsch aus europäischen Ländern nach Genf statt.
3) "The Meal" am 26. September 2020 in Genf bildet den Auftakt zum Programm in Genf. Ein politischer und kultureller Grossanlass zum Thema Frieden und Gerechtigkeit der gleichzeitig an vielen Orten in verschiedenen Ländern der Welt stattfindet.
4) In der Woche vor dem 2. Oktober (Gandhis Geburtstag) trifft sich ein " internationales Parlament der Völker" in Genf (derjenigen, die eine "andere, gerechtere Welt" wollen) - analog der UNO-Vollversammlung - um eine "Agenda mit aktiven Strategien" zu verabschieden. Teilnehmende sind AktivistInnen aus vielen Ländern, NGOs und andere Engagierte.

Für mehr Infos: siehe flyer Jai jagat und Jai Jagat (draft) Declaration und

CESCI Silver Jubilee

In den ersten zwei Oktoberwochen 2017 feierten wir das 25. Jahre Jubiläum des CESCI seit der Grundsteinlegung. Ein grandioser Erfolg. Zusammen mit engagierten KünstlerInnen wie Shanmuga Raja, Gauri Kulkarni und AktivistInnen wie Chellathal und Thandraj organisierte Vinod, der neue Leiter des CESCI, ein intensives und breitgefächertes Programm. Gäste aus ganz Indien, aber auch zahlreich aus den umliegenden Dörfern besuchten abends die Tanz- und Theatervorstellungen und tagsüber die zukunftsorientierten Workshops zu sozialen Themen.
Auch eine grössere Reisegruppe aus der Schweiz, teils langjährige "supporter" des Fördervereins, nutzten das Jubiläum für einen mehrtägigen Besuch im CESCI. Ein Filmworkshop des Schweizer Regisseurs Nino Jacusso fand begeisterten Zuspruch, ebenso wie die bleibende Erinnerung an die Arbeit von Barbara Schnetzler, die mit einer Gruppe begeisterter junger Künstlertalente einige Wände des CESCI dauerhaft mit ihren Figuren belebte.
Bilder des bunten Geschehens finden sich hier

Millions Can Walk

In January 2014 "Millions Can Walk" had its world premiere at the Solothurner Filmtage (Swiss Filmfestival). Shortly afterwards, the film has been shown in several cinemas in Switzerland, Europe and all around the world. RAJAGOPAL had most of the movie premieres. The film has been a unique chance to spread the word about Ekta Parishad’s vision, strategies and skills. It created also a great opportunity for interesting discussions with many potential future supporters of Ekta Parishad. The movie impressively shows some of the main demands of the Adivasi and landless in India.
By spreading this information within your networks, you support not only the movie but rather help Ekta Parishad and its strategy to get awareness and support.



  • Premiere: 49. Solothurn Swiss Film Festival: Friday, 24. January 2014
  • MIFF 2014: Tata theatre, NCPA, Mumbai 6. February 2014
  • Thessaloniki Documentary Festival 14. – 23. March 2014
  • FIFF International Filmfestival Fribourg 29.3. – 5.4. March 2014
  • Festival del Cinema Africano, d’Asia e America Latina, Milano, 6.-12. May 2014
  • IFFI Internationals Film Festival Innsbruck 27. May–1.June 2014
  • Brave Festival Film, Poland, 4.-18. July 2014
  • Indian Filmfestival Stuttgart 16.-20. July 2014 * Award for Best Documentary
  • Take one Action, Edinburgh, UK, 19. September – 4. October 2014
  • Filmambiente Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 4.-10. September 2014
  • DOCSDF, Mexico, October 2014
  • Thusis Weltfilmtage, CH, 4.-9. November 2014
  • Sudan Independent Film Festival, 21.-27. January 2015
  • Nebenrolle Natur, Zürich, 22. March 2015
  • FIFDH, Paris, 10.March 2015
  • Extravagant India !, France, 4. – 10. March 2015
Visit the movie website (--> here) and join the discussion on Facebook (--> here).

Urgent Call for Action: Letter to Jairam Ramesh

Just over a year ago, Jan Satyagraha, the March for Justice, took place in India. It ended with a historic 10-point agreement between the Minister for Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh, and Ekta Parishad on behalf of the marchers. Details were worked out over the next six months, including key steps for implementation. However, two crucial points of the agreement are still pending: the announcement of the final version of the National Land Reform Policy and the passing of the National Homestead Rights Bill.  

On 12 December 2013, the Indian Parliament is assembling for its last session before the General Election in spring 2014. This is the last opportunity for these items to be placed on the present government’s agenda, and you can help make this happen:

1. Please send the letter (downloadable below) - addressed to the Minister of Rural Development – to the following addresses: and, with a copy of the letter to Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India . To make sure we can follow up with the numbers of letters sent, please kindly also send a copy to us

Many thanks for your support!

The village Bhimkotti

Back to the villages - A development project in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh


Somewhere on the main road from Bhopal to Mumbai in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, a small path disappears in a thick forest. It’s the way to the remote village of Bhimkotti.

The village is home to 27 families, where after the Janadesh 2007 - the big march in 2007, organized by Ekta Parishad - 14 families have received land titles.
Ekta Parishad supported the building of a school in this village by providing food and material during the construction. The villagers had to built the school themself with intent to take more care of it and to be more interested in keeping their work alive.
The illiteracy rate is currently still around 100% because the population of the village mostly didn't have the chance to go to school. The few people who had this chance usually only went to the first class. But nowadays all the 30 children in the village are going to school, thanks to Ekta Parishad which pays the salary for an external teacher (about 50 - CHF per month).
The principal income of the village comes from the firewood they search every day in the forest. The firewood is then painstakingly brought to the market in the next big town and brings about 70-100 rupees (around 1 CHF to 1.50 CHF) to the family as revenue. With this money, the whole family needs to be fed.
The drinking water must be fetched from a water source, which can be reached by foot in 20 minutes. The water is carried back to the village on the head of a person. Here again, with the support of Ekta Parishad, a fountain is under construction.

An article with more information can be found > here

The project

The project contains mainly the following points:

  • Diversion of the river water to irrigate the fields sufficiently
  • In addition, a water tank with a diesel engine, for pumping water to the tank. This is needed for storing enough water available during the dry time
  • Bullocks and ploughs to till the fields
  • Grains and seed for the fields (Different Type: tomatoes, onions, chillies, ...)
  • Seed bank, so that in future, the seeds can be drawn to make the village independent
  • 10 trees on each field (planted at the edge, so that the field can also be easily cultivated)
  • Chicken farm for eggs that can be used for the villagers and even sold on the market
  • Goat rearing because new-born goats can be sold on the market for around 80.- CHF. This brings again an economic effort to develop the village.
  • Sewing machines, so old clothes can be reused (for own use or for sale again on the market)
  • Training courses for field cultivation and for the sewing machine

The complete cost of the whole village development is around CHF 10'000. In this case, all the money is used directly in India since we from CESCI work completely on a voluntary base.

Support this project with a donation

Post account: 80-220210-4
Bank IBAN CH47 0900 0000 8022 0210 4
Subject Bhimkotti

Förderverein CESCI
Postfach 3355
CH-8021 Zürich

(Click to enlarge picture)

The complete project plan can be found > here 

Additional informations

A documentation in the Malayalam language. Very impressive to see how this people live in the village Bhimkotti.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Gandhi's legacy

Rajagopal P.V. – ein Leben für den gewaltlosen Widerstand

160 Seiten, gebunden CHF 24.– /  € 19,–



«Das Erbe von Gandhi» ist das eindrucksvolle Porträt von Rajagopal P.V., des Gründers der sozialen Basisbewegung Ekta Parishad und zugleich ein persönlicher Erfahrungsbericht der Autorin.

Rajagopal P.V. musste von Kindheit an erfahren, wie schwierig es ist, sich auf dem eigenen Weg zu behaupten. Mit eisernem Willen und ausserordentlicher Beharrlichkeit widemt er sich seinem grossen Lebensziel, nämlich den Ärmsten der Welt zu helfen, getragen vom Glauben an eine allumfassende Menschlichkeit und Liebe

Die Autorin besuchte das CESCI-Zentrum in Madurai und begleitete Rajagopal P.V. auf einer Jeep Yatra (Pilgerreise) durch mehrere indische Bundesstaaten. In langen Gesprächen gewann sie einen tiefen Einblick in sein Leben und seine Arbeit. Das Vorwort zum Buch hat Rajagopal P.V. selbst verfasst.


Stämpfli Buchhandlung, Wölflistrasse 1, Postfach 5662, 3001 Bern

Tel. +41 (0)31 300 66 77, E-Mail


Förderverein Jahresversammlung 2019
Montag,06.Mai 2019, 18.30 Uhr
Kirchgemeindehaus Neumünster, Seefeldstrasse 91, 8008 Zürich 
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Fair Traders - true stories of ethical business 
Es muss doch einen anderen Weg geben! Die Zeit des Umdenkens hat begonnen.

Nino Jacussos Dokumentarfilm macht die Philosophie von drei Persönlichkeiten und ihre Arbeit miterlebbar. FAIR TRADERS ermutigt, unsere Zukunft fair zu gestalten.
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Jai Jagat 2020 ON THE MOVE for Justice & Peace
Die Mobilisierung zur grossen globalen Kampagne hat begonnen. Werde auch du Teil davon.
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Jai Jagat 2020 - Move

2020 soll der Kulminationspunkt von Jai Jagat sein.

 -> Weitere Infos


CESCI Silver Jubilee


In den ersten zwei Oktoberwochen 2017 feierten wir das 25. Jubiläum des CESCI seit der Grundsteinlegung.

 -> Weitere Infos

Ein Freiwilligen-Einsatz in Südindien


Im November/Dezember 2017 verbrachte Beatrice Eyer "Dixy" ihren Sabbatical im CESCI – Ein Kurzbericht

 -> Weitere Infos


Asian Networking Workshop

Als eine Folgeaktion der "International Women's Action on Nonviolence" vom Oktober 2016 in Indien fand vom 23. – 27. März 2017 in Manila dieser Workshop statt.

 -> Weitere Infos


International Women's Action on Nonviolence" October 2016, India


Dieses Treffen – von vielen Mitgliedern des Fördervereins und weiteren zugewandten Frauen – massgeblich unterstützt, war ein wichtiger und inspirierender Anlass.

 -> Weitere Infos